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[sticky post] Notes to Self about Writing Life

1. Just be yourself. Don't schmooze, don't obssess, don't get weird, don't get all theater. It's served you well, being yourself all this time. Stick with it.

2. Just write. Keep at it steadily, keep at it carefully. Do it conscientiously, do it to the best of your ability.

3. See number one again, especially when you feel insecure about number 2.

4. Believe you have a story to tell. Then don't put it off. Tell it.

5. Accept that some people will like your work, some people will not like your work, and that's okay. You write because you have a story to tell. It's nice if someone will read your story, but if they don't, well, not everyone in the world or even the Western hemisphere is going to read your story. And that is okay.

6. Writing can change the world, but is not the most important job anyone will ever have on the planet. You are not telling deep truths about the universe. You are telling a story. Get over yourself.

7. See number one and number three again, just in case you need a reality check. Never believe your own press.

8. Keep doing something you enjoy that keeps you in touch with people and makes you feel that you are making a contribution to the world, because you can turn into a mushroom if you're writing only. A strange, weird, psychologically fungal mushroom, I might add. And then you might drink.

9. Do not pass judgment on the writing of others. Do not compare your writing to the writing of others. You can have opinions about things you read, but unless you are asked, you might want to keep them to yourself, especially where other writers are concerned. Play nice.

10. Expect others to play nice with you. Avoid pseudo intellectuals and non constructive critics. Hell, you don't need them. You have your worst critic, yourself, to contend with already.

11. The industry is not the measure of your success. Attention is not the measure of your success. Of course you want to send your work out, make smart marketing decisions, and try to share. The measure of your success is stories written and sent. You can't convince the world it wants your work, but you certainly can't do anything at all unless you're telling stories.

12. Realize that success in writing, like success in anything, is really more about persistance than anything else. Write, learn to market selectively and well, and then market selectively and well. There will be a learning curve. You will battle obscurity. You will make mistakes and get rejections. BUT eventually you'll have enough circulating and people will know who you are, and you'll learn the tricks, and your writing will line up with someone's taste, and more and more things will be accepted.

13. See 1, 3, and 7 again, especially in moments of personal angst.

14. See 2 and 4 again, especially in moments of procrastination.

15. See 4, 5, 9, and 11 again, especially in moments where you lack faith.

16. See 5, 9, and 10 to remind yourself of grace.

17. See 6, 7 and 10 to remind yourself that you're not curing cancer.

18. See 8 to maintain your balance.

19. See 12 when you feel like giving it up.

20. If you're not satisified anymore, if it's causing you consternation, cease. Walk away. Writing is important. A happy life is much more important than that. Anything must give you joy for you to continue it. Don't settle.

There are many philosophies behind writing and why one does it.

I was lucky enough to be intrigued by the cover of this book while I was at the Writer's Digest conference in New York, and I also found the whole title A Writer's Guide to Persistence: A Toolkit for Building a Lasting Writing Practice.

Writing practice? As opposed to a writing career? In a world where many conceive of publication and accolade as the desirable end of writing, this is an interesting take on writing as art. I find similar philosophies in Wonderbook.

As you know, my main focus in regard to writing is to create meaningful work, and most importantly, to create meaningful work for myself. If I can share that work, so much the better, but writing for money is not my goal. Nor do I think that writing for money is a problem. Everyone's gotta eat. I eat by teaching, and I fear that if I turn writing into a job, it will suck the joy of doing the art right out of it for me.

Yes, we've talked about me, art, stress, Type A, all that jazz before. No need to rehash it. But, as much as I would like to publish, that is not what or why I write. I write to discover. I write to live in worlds. I write to play, and I have a lot of ideas that just keep my mind racing.

There is a focus on frittering time versus doing writing. And it's a question of enjoying your writing. The book is full of support for people who want to establish a regular writing practice, write, and take risk. Enjoy.

So, if this sounds like you, and rather than looking for a book on how to break in, or how to become a best seller, if you're looking for a way to celebrate your art, do it regular, and focus on your own satisfaction, I like this one. I also like Wonderbook but I gushed about that one already.

Art is interesting. Our reasons for doing it are varied. I want to feel joy and get close to the divine. But no, they can't have my money back from my first pro-sale either.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Projects Live!

I'm beginning to remember why I stopped writing so much last year. Work is a monolith I almost can't climb over. It is true that we are a very popular course of study. The person that's busiest, hands down, is my assistant, but I'm up there. Couple this increased work load with the fact that I take an hour for lunch in the middle of the day, during which I walk, and add on my writing hour every day but Thursday, and you will see that time is precious.

So, here I am writing in the evening. I think that what I need to do is cut back on my expectation of journaling every day, and shooting for 3 times a week. That seems reasonable. However, important lesson--don't forget that you have to write to support EVERYTHING, and journaling without writing is cool, but not why we're out here.

***

I wanted to mention the new project. I have figured out the names for the books, and I have begun The Pawn of Isis, which is a stand alone book from The Vessel of Ra, but is also a sequel. The conceit is that it is written by Carlo Borgia as a record of the events that happen at the book so the next generation of children know their family, and warns them of danger to come. Sounds cool to me. Right now, everything is rough, so we will see if I can deliver on the potential of the beast.

***

I don't want to tell you about the Oni Press idea yet. It's a fun, fun idea, and I'm excited about it, but I want to spring it whole upon the world. Like Athena or something. And, as soon as I have an acceptable draft of Pawn for the Paradise Icon gang, I'm all over the comics idea.

***

Bryon, the spousal unit, asked me if I've ever thought of working on something at the same time as something else, and the answer is yes. I may yet return to Troll Boys in Decorah, discarding large chunks of that story before. But only when I've written myself into a corner, and I need something to stew.

And that's what I'm doing to stay out of trouble. You?

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Coming to a Pet Store Near You…

...the return of puppies as they were meant to be! Not a usurped name for a political slate of unhappy writers who felt persecuted, but instead, you know, furry little scamps and scampettes that can be cuddled with and taken on walks.

At least we hope so.

***

And...aye yi yi, school begins. I have very little time to do much of anything write now except serve my students. Tomorrow, I teach. AND I have actual writing time tomorrow. This excites.

So, you might want to know a bit more about the projects I'm working on? I'll describe them pretty darned soon.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Fast Friday Facts

Weights from Thursday:

2015 Highest Weight 213.8 Current Weight 210.5 Lost: 3.3 pounds
Weight Watchers Beginning 224.8 Current Weight 213.6 Lost: 11.2 pounds
Total Loss: 13.3 pounds

More or less stayed the same this week. Variables? Eating too much some days. Loads of exercise. Drinking more. As always, gotta get the early eating of all my extra points kind of under control. If I could stick with the 30 points weight watchers allots me a week, I think weight would fall like raindrops. Thinking about ways to get that impulse eating out of there.

***

The menopause experiment is finished. I am not. Took me 4 months to find that out, but now we know for sure. Not that I intend to do anything with my newly re-discovered fertility.

***

The Big Book of Borgia actually has a REAL title now, thanks to clever old Mr. Stump. It will be The Pawn of Isis, which is just perfect. You might detect a pattern, if you remember the last book's title is The Vessel of Ra. Look forward to The Wisdom of Thoth, The Wrath of Horus, and that book which used to be called The Substance of Shadows, but will now have to be The NOUN of INSERT EGYPTIAN GOD HERE. Maybe one of those will be called The Judgment of Ammut, but I'm not sure about the one before/after that one. And finally... The Honor of Hathor.

Yeah. Looks like around seven. I could write one more book as well. Esme could have her own book. Maybe... The Prisoner of Set?

Nice. Titles. Just gotta put some words around those.

***

Off this weekend to Comic Con Chicago. Bryon's actually going in. I'm going along for the ride to read Wodehouse to him, and to write while he's getting Carol Spiney's autograph. Good times.

***

Monday I think I'll talk about artistic vision versus marketability, which surprises no one since I just titled seven, maybe eight books that have nary an offer of representation on the horizon.

Be safe out there.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

And That’s the Novella!

A few months back, I had an open invitation to revise and resubmit The Ground is Full of Teeth, my weredog novella. No guarantees, as always. I did want to do this, but I wanted to wait until the novel was done. THAT took me longer than I thought it would, but now that The Vessel of Ra is out and about, the novella was the natural next step.

I am pleased to say I handily made my goal of getting it out by the end of August. I am now ready to begin new projects.

Next up? I begin the next Klaereon book, writing just enough to be ready for Paradise Icon. The working title is The Big Book of Borgia, hence shorthand 3B. No, of course that won't be the real title, but it describes the conceit nicely.

Like I said, just enough for Paradise Icon. Then, a couple of tiny projects, and back into the novel with feeling!

Also an FYI...I have sent out 150 queries this year. Wow. Doing my part. I'll let you know if anything comes of any of it, of course.

Working now. Catch you all later. I probably won't do this tomorrow, because it's all sorts of beginning of the year teacher jazz. Hope to see you on Friday.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Fitness Rule Number One?

Amazon princess tried her first barre class last night. The morale of the story? Don't push yourself too hard too fast, and don't forget that you have to do something you love.

First of all, let me say this: I'm okay! They worked me to a nubbin, and I poured sweat and had shaky muscles. However, they stretched me out very well, so I don't have any residual ouches this morning.

That said, important lesson of fitness learned last night. I was in a class that was out of my league. Waaaayyy out of my league. I asked the teacher about this, explaining about my fitness level with an honest eye. 65 pounds overweight. 50. Should I do this?

I expect that she was thinking that you can't get there without doing this. So I took the class and had to make several stops in the action because I didn't have it. So much of the class was not fun. Lots of calisthenics and some weight lifting. A little bar work, but again, more calisthenics. So, a little of the class felt like dancing, but very little.

Part of me wants to stay and do it. If I can do this class, I would have gotten into shape. I think it might be wiser to return in 20-30 pounds. This body I have right now is hard to move around physically. Perhaps the newer body wouldn't be.

So, I made the decision this morning not to do it again. The reason is two-fold. I didn't like it enough to be enthusiastic about it, and I would be doing it to prove to myself that I could. I don't think that this is the way to go--deciding to pursue fitness because you are stubborn. I also need to work my way up to this. The second reason? I didn't have much fun. And that's gotta be what I'm looking for, to stick with it.

Today, I discovered an adult ed class I can take for free. Adult Ballet. Probably more of what I'm looking for as a dancer, and a good way to move in the right direction. It doesn't avoid strength training entirely, as dancers get some good strength training. So I will do that, and the college will pay for it. I will watch my diet and lose weight, and some day, some day I may return to the barre class and do better.

Or I just might stay with the dancers and do resistance training on the Wii. That's for the future to know.

Anyway, I feel good about this decision.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Stitch

Sometimes in our lives we choose something. I remember making conscious decisions to choose, say Harry Potter, or Wonder Woman. Sometimes something chooses us. I never made a decision to choose Mary Poppins, because at the age of 3 I was mesmerized at a drive-in in Guam and it just was.

In my adult life, I generally make choices about what to devote my time to, or what to pursue. Even when something chooses us, we weigh the pros and cons of how it would be, or even look about a choice. Example? Um...I like cheesy 70s music. Not disco, mind, but yes, I do like Neil Diamond, Seals and Croft, ELO, and Wings. Just for examples. There is some 70s music that will make me actively change a channel, but I do like it. Yet, I used to think I was somehow less cool by liking this cheesy thing.

There is a time in our adult life when we outgrow the cool. Okay, I really don't know about you, but I no longer care about the cheesy music thing. Or some of the cheesy books I like, movies I like, things I like to do (why yes, I do roleplay, thank you). Still, every once in a while, you have that old pause.

Appropriate pause. Throat clear.

Some years ago, when I had more respiratory problems, back before the discovery of my dust allergy and allergy shots, I was up late coughing up my lungs. In order for my husband to get some sleep, I wandered downstairs and rested on our chaise. I turned on the television and saw Lilo and Stitch for the first time and was captivated by what a sweet film it was. I was surprised, because the focus of the ad campaign had been largely about Stitch's nuisance potential. Another iffy movie of questionable taste for kids, I thought. Not so, it turned out. Still, I never bought the film.

When we were on the Disney cruise, I decided to watch the film again, and was captivated again. The decision was made to buy the large stuffed Stitch in the gift shop, who now gets into our laundry, into our cereal boxes, rides our animatronic dinosaur (which I know every home in America has), and generally expresses creatively for me and the husband what our cat voice overs once did. And lo! There were two sequels.

Lilo and Stitch 2: Stitch has a Glitch sounds like it should be a sub-standard production from that time frame, the famous Disney ...two films, which were a way to make a buck on the home video market. However, it too is a charming film. I can't recommend the long-running cartoon, or Leroy and Stitch, however, which are very juvenile, and look like Disney trying to cash in on the Pokemon phase.

So...if you like cartoons, and if you like cute, touching cartoons, with a little naughty on the side, I'd recommend Stitch.

Lilo also, because hey, you know, can't have Stitch without Lilo. And she's weird. She's gonna grow up to be a fine geek on her own.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Amazon Princess Update

Hey. I just spent most of today finishing instructor documents so I could work on the novella and game this weekend. Tomorrow is all about the husband turning 53.

But I promised you weights, so here they are.

2015 Highest Weight 213.8 Current Weight 210.3 Lost: 3.5 pounds
Weight Watchers Beginning 224.8 Current Weight 213.4 Lost: 11.4 pounds
Total Loss: 13.5 pounds

That's a 2 pound loss from last week.

***

New things: back to tracking food. Going to try a Barre class next Tuesday to trick myself into strength training.

Enjoy yourselves this weekend, and I'll be back Monday to talk about...Stitch. Yes. That's right.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

Writing Updatery

Things are going much, much more smoothly than I thought they would with the novella revision. I finished my preliminary notes and more superficial revisions last night. I have two brand new scenes on tap to write, and then after a smoothing and a proof, I pronounce it executed to my satisfaction.

Which is not to say it will find a home. However, the issues that have been nagging at me regarding it will be solved.

***

I thought that I would go on with the open call for Oni Press, and I still intend to do that, BUT I have a Paradise Icon deadline approaching, so I need to get my materials ready for that. Ergo, that first, and then Oni Press.

I am reluctant to start a new novel. On the other hand, getting out there and just playing in the mud with absolute freedom is kind of appealing. So, here goes.

Tomorrow: Your weekly fitness update.

Mirrored from Writer Tamago.

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